Another Problem for the Oscars!
Let’s stir the pot! As the Academy Awards, also known as the “Oscars” approach with its myriad of controversy, we’d like to add another monkey-wrench. In the vein of Spike Lee and “Do the Right Thing,” we can’t help but notice, ain’t-no-comedy-on-the-wall.
Though this site is dedicated to urban comedy, today we stand up for all of comedy-kind. Just as the great Giancarlo Esposito’s character ‘Buggin Out’ was struck by epiphany before eating a slice of pizza, we too found divine inspiration before a pizza pie (by the way, Papa Murphy’s is delicious). In the midst of Kevin Hart drama, SAF-AFTRA’s ‘strong-arm’ allegations, and Spike Lee’s concerns of Oscar awards being administered during commercials, we’d like to voice our issue with the Academy Awards regular snub of the comedy world.
Hey-Hey, Ho-Ho, Genre-ism has got to go!
Can you guess the number of comedies to win “Best Picture?” We’ll wait. . . . The answer is seven, and we guarantee no one can name two.
- It Happened One Night(1934)
- You Can’t Take It with You (1938)
- Going My Way (1944) – a musical comedy.
- Tom Jones (1963, UK) – an historical epic/comedy.
- The Sting (1973)
- Annie Hall(1977)
- The Artist (2011, FR./US)
New Comedy Gets No Respect
That’s right, the seven comedy films to earn a Best Picture award are virtually unknown to anyone born after 1975. This is INSANE. No “Ghostbusters?” No “Coming to America?” No “Harlem Nights?” These movies created laughs and one-liners that still kill, how many “best pictures” resonate with audiences 10, 20, 30 years later? Not many. And how is it possible that Eddie Murphy hasn’t produced a “Best Picture” for comedy? He’s made a ga-zillion films, most are pretty darn good.
The more we research the Oscars, the more pissed we get about the treatment of comedy these days. Aside from the hack stand-ups and cheesy low-budget films, we have to contend with institutional bias. (Approaching our soapbox now) For far too long comedy has been a treated like side-money, a second-class genre. Filmsite.com doesn’t even list “Comedy” as a top genre, instead, the website splinters the genre and lists it as “Romantic comedy” and ranks it as the 8th best film genre. Behind ‘westerns’, ‘sports’, ‘gangster’ and ‘fantasy’. WTH? When was the last time you watched a Western movie not named “D’Jango” or the “Hateful Eight?” Comedy is bigger than ALL of these genres combined, want proof? Name a star of the above listed genres, we’ll wait. . . . Comedy has stars, real stars and big-name movies. Kevin Hart is bigger than each of those categories himself, where’s the love, Oscar?
Comedy is the epitome
We know what they’ll say, “Comedy isn’t really great, anybody can do it,” this is pure nonsense. Comedy is more difficult than drama, period. Not even up for debate. When a dramatic actor becomes a great comedic actor, we can talk. Countless numbers of comics have made the leap with incredible success. See Whoopi Goldberg in “Color Purple,” Eddie Murphy in “Dreamgirls,” Jamie Foxx in “Ray.” We can go on, and on, but we won’t. Comedians are the most talented people on earth, not debatable. Comedy is the most difficult genre to produce because few people can write or perform it at a high level. Shouldn’t this rare talent/skill be rewarded with accolades and, dare we say it, Academy Awards?
True enough, “Black Panther” is this year’s favorite for Best Picture and it has a degree of comedy, maybe we picked a bad year to complain. But still, Academy, we need more comedies on the wall.